What I Learned from “The Croods”

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What I Learned from “The Croods”

I watched “The Croods” with my daughters this weekend. The movie was a surprisingly good story of a caveman family as they transition to life in the modern world. (Of course, since the movie came from DreamWorks, I shouldn’t have been surprised… has anything they done been bad?) At the beginning of the movie, the Croods live according to a caveman ethos designed to preserve their lives. Interestingly, this ethos is very similar to what many production environments embrace:

· Don’t venture out.

· Don’t take risks.

· Don’t do anything new.

· Don’t change.

· Or you die.

In the case of production environments, “death” means systems come crashing down, customers start calling, bosses start yelling and administrators are often left unemployed. Generally, it’s not a pretty picture.

The Croods realized that their world was changing and that the old ways didn’t always work. I saw a similarity between how the Croods’ world changed and how our world of technology changes. While we might think that production stability requires us to stay with old operating systems and client-server networking paradigms, in reality a better life awaits if we embrace new things, like tablets and the Cloud.

This was such an important revelation, I had to make a note of it in my Palm Pilot. I’m sure it will prove invaluable later.

Net Non-Neutrality — Net Neutrality refers to a regulatory approach to managing the Internet. As such, discussion on this topic can be extremely dry, utterly boring and stinks of big bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, Net Neutrality is also extremely important. Right now, the powers-that-be are deciding new rules for managing the Internet. The new rules could have a big impact on how everybody connects.

Until January 2014, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and Wow! operated under Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality means that all data on the ISP’s network is treated equally. Data will be not filtered or charged based on user, content, application, etc. Effectively, everyone is equal. The home developer hosting a personal website is given access equal to that of Google, Amazon, etc.

In January, a Federal Appeals Court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not possess the authority to enforce Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality advocates fear that this decision will allow ISPs to create priority services, or fast lanes, on their network. By extension, all other traffic would be slowed if the data producers don’t pay for priority. This situation could create a significant issue for small businesses or other organizations that rely on unfiltered data flow.

Last week, the FCC voted to release a set of proposed rules that they say restores Net Neutrality. However, a leaked copy of the proposal indicated that ISPs would be allowed to create fast lanes on their networks. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and nearly 150 Internet companies previously sent a letter to the FCC asking for a “free and open Internet” and that the creation of ISP fast lanes “…represents a grave threat to the Internet.”

Public comments on the new FCC rules are being accepted for 60 days until July 15. A quick way to make your voice heard is to visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation site dearfcc.org.

Until next time, I’m off the grid @gregory_a_baker.